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Cost of disposing Cambria water facility waste unclear

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Questions weren’t welcome at a recent Cambria Community Services District meeting when it came to the town’s controversial sustainable water facility. 

But the public did have a chance to weigh in on the first completed draft of the project’s environmental impact report (EIR), which was released on Aug. 31.

Glenn Lajoie, a consultant on the project from Michael Baker International, started off the Oct. 11 meeting by making it clear that the purpose of the meeting was to receive public testimony—not to have a dialogue.

One resident who spoke during public comment, Bob Casper, turned to the board and questioned the cost of disposing the waste that results from the reverse osmosis treatment of the water. The draft EIR states that the concentrate will be hauled away to a disposal site, suggesting the Kettleman Hills Hazardous Waste Facility located in Kings County, but it doesn’t mention how much the removal will cost. 

Casper also asked whether a cost analysis had been done to compare other nearby facilities where the concentrate can be disposed. 

District Engineer Bob Gresens answered the questions by reiterating that this meeting was intended to gather testimony and comment that will help refine the draft of the EIR. 

Gresens said that the cost is information that still needs to be defined. 

Even though he couldn’t give an approximation, “it will be much less expensive if we can find a local outfall as opposed to going to the Kettleman Hills,” he said.

Community members can submit their comments to the district until Oct. 26. 

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